Music plays a critical role in human lives, especially among senior citizens who are in their sunset years. Music brings connections, brings back fond memories, and can soothe the soul. These benefits have been echoed by research that has been done over the years, and music of all kinds can have a lifesaving impact on older members of society in terms of mental and physical health.
Including music as part of your daily care routine has become more important than ever. Here are some of the benefits that music provides for senior citizens:
1. Encourages Exercise
Exercise is vital for people of all ages. It becomes increasingly important as one advances in age and is needed to keep disease at bay. Senior citizens, in particular, can benefit immensely from music as it can encourage them to move, dance, exercise and stay healthy.
Music motivates an individual and can be used during various forms of exercises. For instance, senior citizens can use music melodies to accompany everyday activities like workouts, dancing, walking, and stretching.
Playing the right music goes a long way into encouraging older people to engage in physical activity. Increased physical activity results in restoration of lost body functions due to illness or injuries and brings independence too.
The benefits of exercise cannot be underestimated. Apart from increased physical wellness, exercise also helps in better movement of older people. Subsequently, a person who routinely engages in training will have improved flexibility, muscle strength, balance, bone density, and heart health.
You can help older people increase their physical activity at a beneficial and safe pace by playing the right music for different kinds of physical activities.
2. Decreasing Isolation
Aging undoubtedly results in communications hindrances for older people, coupled with various health problems. Consequently, isolation breeds in resulting in health risks and an even shortened life span.
Research reveals that approximately 17% of Americans who are aged 65 and more are at a higher risk of suffering from isolation. In addition to that, 26% of Americans also face the risk of premature death as a result of loneliness as they advance in age. Shockingly, about 51% of those aged 75 and above live alone, further increasing the risk of early death.
Such misfortunes can be avoided if music is incorporated into the daily lives of seniors. It opens up the avenues of communications that were hitherto unavailable. People with dementia can benefit immensely from music, which has been proven to enhance communication among them. Such is possible through the improvement of language abilities and cognition.
Activities that are related to music such as watching and listening to music performances, playing musical instruments, singing, and dancing capture the attention of seniors and make them concentrate. This later sparks discussions that strengthen connections with family and friends through communication.
3. Promoting Overall Wellness
Music evokes powerful memories of the past and related good feelings that are associated with that type of music. Older people who are challenged with longer term memory loss can enjoy listening to music that brings back memories from the past.
Music goes a long way into improving the quality of life of someone with dementia. Older people in assisted living can enjoy the various benefits associated with music. Such benefits include reduction of pain and discomfort without the use of drugs, positive changes in mood, increased sense of self-sufficiency, and improved memory.
Patients with dementia can also enjoy the following benefits by listening to their music of choice:
• Opportunities to interact freely with other people • Stimulation that promotes interest in case different approaches are not effective • Non-pharmacological management of discomfort resulting from age-related ailments • A sense of belonging and control over life • Better emotional balance and improved moods
4. Improving Memory
Music therapy can be used to increase chemicals in the brain that bring forth positive feelings among dementia and Alzheimer's disease patients. People with family and friends who have dementia have confessed the healing power of music to their loved ones. It lifts their spirits and transforms their demeanor.
Apart from the benefits that much has among dementia patients, it also assists in alleviating the pain that is associated with some debilitating conditions. Therefore, the priority of seniors care should be to make music a focal point. There should be a particular emphasis on well-known tunes that have the power to evoke long-gone memories.
5. Music Nurtures the Spirit
Music played to older people can calm and comfort them as they go through life’s daily challenges. With older people reconnecting with religion, music plays a vital role in strengthening their religious beliefs and to God. Such people can use music as fodder for their inner spirit and as a distraction away from strenuous routines.
6. It makes a Difference in Caregiving
Caregiving can be one of the most rewarding and meaningful tasks a person can engage in. However, some aspects of caregiving, like assisting your loved one in matters relating to personal care, can be daunting.
To lessen the burden that comes with caregiving to older people, you can incorporate their favorite music while providing the care.
Stimulating album cover art can also be a great way to engage the elderly with their favorite music. Nostalgic record and CD covers can bring back memories from their younger years and singing along with them during these moments makes the caring more enjoyable for everyone.
Some homes have gone a notch higher and incorporated music and movement into daily life. Movement, song, and dance are new age methods of improving the mobility and quality of life for the aging.
The best part of music is that you do not have to be an expert to make meaningful connections via melodies. Don’t hesitate to include music in your care routine for senior citizens. Music will enable you to connect at a higher level as you share joyful moments with your loved ones who are under assisted living.